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50 states in 42 days: Baby Liberty becomes the youngest to travel the U.S.

Mother Stephanie Weeks is from Cedar Rapids

Stephanie and Joby Weeks pose for a picture with baby Liberty Weeks at Brewhemia in Cedar Rapids on Nov. 28, 2018. (B.A. Morelli/The Gazette)
Stephanie and Joby Weeks pose for a picture with baby Liberty Weeks at Brewhemia in Cedar Rapids on Nov. 28, 2018. (B.A. Morelli/The Gazette)
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Baby Liberty’s life has begun as one big adventure, following in the footsteps of her adventure-seeking parents, Stephanie and Joby Weeks.

Born on Oct. 22 in Galveston, Texas, the next day, Liberty was off for introductions to family in Cedar Rapids, where Stephanie grew up and attended Jefferson High. And so, the road trip began. Oklahoma. Kansas, Missouri. Iowa.

After a short visit, they were traveling again. Nebraska. Wyoming. Colorado. New Mexico. Arizona. Nevada. California. Utah. Idaho. Montana.

By the time she was 13 days old, Liberty had been to 10 states. By 15 days, 15 states.

A Canadian baby named Harper Yeats was the youngest on record to visit all 50 states, doing so in five months, according to the All Fifty Club website. Guinness World Records doesn’t monitor this record, a spokesperson said, but the Weeks have been applying to get it established.

“We said, ‘We can crush that record,’” Stephanie Weeks said. “We thought, this is the perfect time to do this because she sleeps all day.”

They set a goal: 50 states in 50 days.

Stephanie, 38, and Joby, 37, have been habitually traveling the world for more than a decade — an evolving process of filling up and completing one bucket list experience after another — since they met in 2007. They’ve documented much of their travels to 1,241 cities and 152 countries on a website called WeeksAbroad.com, which posts travel guides, tips and trip opportunities.

“Until Liberty’s birth, we hadn’t spent more than a week anywhere in 11 years,” Stephanie Weeks said.

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Traveling offers freedom and flexibility, firsthand experiences and an appreciation for people and places — all values they hope to instill in Liberty.

“The reason we travel is because experiences are better than anything you can buy in life,” Stephanie Weeks said.

Everyday is different. You don’t get into routines.

Joby Weeks added, “Rather than read about Greece, go there. ... Our motto is go everywhere and do everything.”

When asked about safety concerns, the couple acknowledge they must be smart about where they go and what they do, but their experience has been that people around the world are welcoming.

Stephanie Weeks was working as a dental assistant in Arvada, Colo., when Joby Weeks, a Denver, Colo. native, came in as a patient. They hit it off and hit the road on their first adventure three months later.

Wonder how they pay for this lifestyle? Bitcoin.

Joby Weeks said he invested at 85 cents a bitcoin, which is now valued around $3,239 per bitcoin as of Friday. He has also become a “serial entrepreneur” with a particular interest in new energy technology, he said.

They’d been constantly on the go until settling down for five weeks in Galveston in the final months of pregnancy.

Ron Paul — yes, the presidential candidate, Texas Congressman and libertarian icon — was the impetus for the location. Joby was an avid Paul supporter — hence the name Liberty — helping fund a Ron Paul blimp and a stretch limousine wrapped with an image of Ron Paul and the American flag that made appearances near debates and cities during the 2008 presidential race.

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They wanted Paul, 83, an obstetrician by trade, to attend Liberty’s birth. Paul said he would participate if the delivery was near his home.

The birth story is just one of many larger-than-life tales.

Last week, Joby Weeks detoured from the 50-state challenge to explore the depths of the Great Blue Hole, a massive marine sinkhole in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Belize.

A couple months earlier, he was on a charter through the Northwest Passage, a historic trade route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean via the Arctic Circle. Ice disrupted the journey and he and his group had to be rescued by an icebreaker ship.

In July, Joby Weeks and a pregnant Stephanie Weeks rode with a rotating cast on a custom-built seven-person bike on RAGBRAI.

The adventures almost seem too far fetched to believe, except there is photo or video documentation of much of it. There’s video of Joby Weeks with Sir Richard Branson, who was a featured explorer during last week’s Belize trip, which was broadcast on the Discovery Channel. There’s also video of a polar bear swimming along side the boat in the Northwest Passage, and there are photos of Ron Paul with newborn Liberty.

As their 50-state journey with Liberty continued, they used a “travel hack” to reach several southeastern states. They signed up with a recreational vehicle service to transport an RV north from Florida to Virginia. They flew to Florida and paid $10 a day to swing through 14 more states in the RV, they said.

Liberty’s Instagram feed shows photos of her on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, at Graceland in Memphis, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. There are photos with landmarks from all of the states.

By the end of November, they’d touched down in all of the northeastern states and the rest of the Midwest. The final leg was to fly out to Portland, Ore., drive to Washington, fly to Alaska, and put the exclamation point on the adventure in Hawaii on Dec. 2 — eight days ahead of schedule.

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“Young Liberty is the youngest member of the All Fifty States Club for visiting all 50 by the time she was 43 days old,” club President Alicia Rovey confirmed in an email.

“We are only just starting with her. We want her to go to every country in the world,” Joby Weeks said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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